US Approves $4 Billion Advanced Missile Defense System Sale to Poland

The United States has approved the sale to Poland of a $4 billion state-of-the-art air and missile-defense system.
US Approves $4 Billion Advanced Missile Defense System Sale to Poland
A U.S. Army MIM-104 Patriot anti-missile defense launcher stands pointing east at Rzeszow-Jasionska airport, near Rzeszow, Poland, on March 8, 2022. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Wim De Gent

The United States has approved the sale of a $4 billion state-of-the-art air-and-missile defense system to Poland, the U.S. Department of Defense announced on Sept. 11, amidst rising tensions with Belarus and Russia.

“The proposed sale will improve Poland’s missile defense capability and contribute to Poland’s goal of updating its military capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said.

“Poland will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”

The Integrated Air-and-Missile Defense (IAMD) system sale consists of 93 engagement operation centers equipped with modernized sensors and components and 175 fire control network relays. The price tag includes training and support.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States,” the DSCA said, noting that the sale “will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

Wagner Trains Belarusian Units

On Aug. 10, Poland said it would send an additional 10,000 troops to its Belarusian border after fighters from the Wagner Group, a Russian state-funded private military company, had been spotted training units of the Belarusian army near the Polish border in mid-July.
After Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin died in a fatal plane crash in late August, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered all Wagner fighters and other mercenaries to sign an oath of allegiance to the Russian state in a clear move to bring these groups under tighter state control.

“We move the army closer to the border,” Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said in a radio interview, “to scare away the aggressor so that it does not dare to attack us.”

On the same day, however, Moscow vowed it would “respond symmetrically to any unfriendly steps by the Polish leadership.”

Three weeks later, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led alliance formed shortly before the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991, held week-long joint military drills in Belarus named “Battle Brotherhood 2023.”

Greenlight for Earlier Sale

The approval of the $4 billion sale follows the approval of a $15 billion IAMD sale in June, which included 48 missile launch stations and 644 Patriot PAC-3 MSE advanced capability missiles.

PAC-3 missiles are capable of intercepting a wide range of enemy targets—intercontinental ballistic missiles, low- and high-altitude cruise missiles, aircraft, and drones—at altitudes of up to 40 kilometers (130,000 feet).

The PAC-3 MSE mentioned in the contract is an updated, more agile version with extended range and altitude.

According to the DSCA, approximately 40 U.S. government and 45 contractor representatives will travel to Poland for an extended period for equipment fielding, system checkout, training, and technical and logistics support.